It’s two years since the new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour (see my post on this here) came into force yet only 532 charges have been brought in England even though more than 4,000 offences were recorded by the police in one year.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years.
Six police forces have brought 5 charges or less and only eight of the 43 forces in England and Wales have taken up an accredited training programme dealing with the offence.
Elfyn Llwyd, whose private members’ bill led to the introduction of the offence said it was very frustrating that training had been so low. “The poor take-up of training among the Welsh and English police is reflected in the low number of prosecutions. The government must ensure that training is made mandatory and funded centrally“.
It’s just not good enough. When police forces are spending money demonstrating how PC they are by painting their cars and finger nails it suggests that they haven’t got their priorities right in protecting victims of what Theresa May, then Home Secretary, said could be “tantamount to torture”.
Essex police were also criticised for their campaign offering support to over-55 year old victims of domestic abuse who decided to stay with their partners.
It included a fictional case study which said “She knew the abuse in her relationship was wrong but also knew she wouldn’t leave. With help and support from specialist organisations and agencies she and her husband stayed together, but safely”.
Refuge, the domestic violence charity, were less than impressed saying it was the police’s job to arrest abuse perpetrators and that it seemed they were failing victims. Every week two women were killed by their partners or former partners.
Essex police acknowledged it had used “clumsy language“.